Lambeth Housing is moving to a new allocation system called Choice Based Lettings. No longer will it simply be a method of get what you are given. The change starts on April 30.
Flats and houses that are available for letting will be advertised across the borough via posters in libraries and housing offices, and on the internet on a special choice based lettings website: Home Connections. As with estate agents, there will be a photo and a brief description of the property.
Residents on the transfer or housing waiting list can register interest in an advertised property by phone, text message, or through the internet. This is called ‘bidding’ for a home – but no money is involved.
There will be some conditions. People will only be able to bid for houses that are the right size for their household. There will be an age restriction on sheltered housing, and only disabled people will be able to bid for adapted housing.
The council will collect all the ‘bids’ received and will invite the ‘bidders’ with the highest priority household to come and view the property. If after seeing the property they want to proceed, they will be made a formal offer of the tenancy. If not, the next highest priority person will be invited to view it.
There are some things that choice-based lettings can’t change. For example, there is a severe housing shortage in Lambeth, which means many more people want to move into council or housing association housing than there are homes available for letting. This is something Lambeth will face for the foreseeable future.
But the evidence from other councils which already operate this system is that people are a lot happier with choice based lettings than with the old system where all the decisions were made by council officers.
In March 2008 everyone on the council’s housing register or transfer list will be sent an information pack before choice based lettings begin. This will give full instructions on how to view details of available properties and how to make a bid for a property